‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Black Panther’ Push IMAX to Record-Breaking $1 Billion Year

IMAX hit a record $1 billion global box office in 2018, bolstered by Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, Deadline reports.

Its global tally, expected to reach $1.002 billion by the end of Christmas Eve, marks the first time in its 50-year history that IMAX has bypassed the $1B milestone.

Currently, Infinity War and Black Panther earned the most from IMAX showings with $143.5 million and $81.1m, respectively.

Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is third ($66.7m), followed by Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout ($53.6m), Warner Bros.’ Ready Player One ($52.1m) and Aquaman ($43m), Sony’s Venom ($42.8m), WB’s Fantastic Beasts sequel ($40m), Disney-Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp ($32.1m), and WB’s The Meg ($29.9m).

Aquaman, just released to domestic theaters earlier in the week, is projected to overtake fourth place by adding another $20m for a $63m IMAX haul by Dec. 31.

Six of those top 10 highest-grossers featured “IMAX DNA,” indicating they were either fully shot in the premium format or featured IMAX’s expanded aspect ratio that offers moviegoers up to 26% more picture than standard screens.

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo filmed Infinity War and its sequel, Avengers: Endgame, entirely in IMAX — making the former the first-ever film to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras.

“It’s our first time using these new Arri 65 cameras in the IMAX format and it’s beautiful. Once we saw the 20 minutes of footage that we had shot, that’s when we made the decision to do both movies of the Infinity War [entirely] in it,” Joe Russo said of filming Captain America: Civil War, which featured “about 20 minutes” of IMAX-shot footage.

“The scale is appropriate for superhero storytelling. There’s a lot of characters in those movies, a lot of characters who are tall characters. Big characters who are much taller than regular humans.”

Russo added the “beautiful IMAX top and bottom frame” creates “a much grander format for a movie like that to be viewed in.”

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“I just feel like the thing that distinguishes movies right now is that wide-screen format and the difference of why you go out of your house to go to the theater; it’s to have that experience that you can't have at your house,” Russo said in 2015.

“For us, we wanted to really deliver on the promise of those movies. There are 20 movies behind them, so they’re the culmination of 20 films and it needs a big beautiful format to tell that story.”